After helping the Notre Dame girls basketball team advance to the state final four for the second time in her career, 6-foot-1 senior guard Tori Rubel has rightfully been selected to the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association’s Class 5 All-State Team.
This is the first time Rubel was named as one of the top 20 players in her class as she continues what is now a four-year streak of the Bulldogs having an all-state honoree. Tori’s older sister and current UT Martin freshman Lexi Rubel was tabbed all-state three years in a row, beginning back in the 2019-20 season when The Rubel Duo led Notre Dame to the Class 4 Final Four.
Tori, who will play with Lexi and the Skyhawks starting next winter, had no trouble taking the keys to the car whatsoever in her final campaign with the Bulldogs. Not only did Notre Dame (23-7) advance to state for the first time since Rubel’s freshman year this winter, but it also won a fifth-straight district championship and swept the SEMO Conference for the second consecutive season.
Statistically, Tori led the Bulldogs in points (11.6 per game), rebounds (8.2) and assists (3.2), while she was second in steals (2.4), 3-pointers made (35) and 3-point shooting percentage (32.1%). Rubel produced a total of eight double-doubles and knocked down multiple 3s nine times en route to earning all-state.
In this year’s Class 5 District 1 Tournament, Rubel averaged a double-double at 13.3 points and 10 rebounds per game while also recording 4.3 assists per contest and hitting 83% of her 3-pointers. The Bulldogs outscored their district tournament opponents by nearly an average of 30 points (26.4), which included a 58-43 win over Farmington (22-7) for the district title.
Undoubtedly, Rubel garnered all-district honors for the fourth and final time of her career and became a three-time SEMO All-Conference selection. The Bulldogs won the conference tournament all four years with Tori as they defeated crosstown rival Jackson for the title each season and during the regular season as well. Tori was also voted to the FSCB Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team for the third year in a row after helping Notre Dame win the tournament for the fourth-straight time.
What’s most impressive is that Rubel accomplished all of these feats despite suffering a massive labral tear in February of last season. This caused Tori to miss her final season of AAU ball this past spring and summer, where she would’ve played on WNBA-sponsored Napheesa Collier’s team “Phee Elite.”
Rubel couldn’t even start dribbling a basketball in preparation for this season until June, but she was thankfully able to start shooting and doing more activities later that month. On top of that, Tori had to watch Phee Elite win the Run 4 Roses Elite 40 Championship in July, a game that was nationally televised live on ESPN.
Tori didn’t let any of those hurdles get the best of her, though, as she ended up recording a career-high scoring average of 11.6 points per game this winter. Rubel, who had eight games of 15 points or more, produced a new single-game, career-high point total of 31 versus New Madrid County Central on Jan. 26. She also had a double-double in the contest with 12 rebounds, along with her five steals and four assists.
One aspect that makes Tori’s scoring numbers impressive is that the rest of Notre Dame’s starting five each averaged seven or more points per game. Pacing Rubel’s team-high scoring average was one of her younger sisters 5-9 freshman point guard Brie Rubel, who came up with 8.8 points per game and led the Bulldogs in 3-pointers (46), 3-point percentage (33.8%) and steals (2.6 per game).
The Rubel Duo 2.0 — made up by Tori and Brie — combined for 30 or more points in five games this season as the final time was in the state quarterfinals with a 46-35 win over John Burroughs (26-4) to reach state. These sisters combined for 31 points versus the Bombers as Brie scored a game-high 16 points and hit four treys, while Tori paced with 15 points and two 3s of her own while also collecting 12 rebounds for a double-double.
Along with leading her team in scoring, Tori recorded a team-high 3.2 assists per game and had multiple dishes for scores in 23 games, producing four or more 12 times. Rubel’s single-game high assists total was seven against Delta (25-4) on Jan. 9 in a game where she also had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds for a 53-46 win over the Bobcats.
Tori’s 14 boards also happened to be her season-high total as she ended with an average of 8.2 rebounds per game. Rubel hauled in 10 or more rebounds through nine contests as Notre Dame’s next leader in rebounds was her other younger sister 6-0 freshman forward Kate Rubel with 4.9 per game. Kate also finished second behind Tori in assists with an average of three per game and was fourth in scoring at 7.6.
Defensively, Rubel was one of Notre Dame’s four players that averaged two or more steals at 2.4 behind Brie’s team-high of 2.6 takeaways per game. Tori recorded three or more steals a total of 12 times as she came up with a season-high six in three different games. Bulldogs 5-5 senior guard Anna Garner finished third in steals behind Brie and Tori at 2.3, while Kate was the final Bulldog to average multiple takeaways with two.
Also making her presence felt defensively for Notre Dame was 6-2 freshman post Nevaeh Lucious as she finished five blocked shots shy of breaking the program’s single-season record of 87 blocks with 82 for 2.7 per game. Nevaeh also led the Bulldogs in shooting percentage (58.3%) while being third in points per game (8.2) and rebounds (4.2). Like Tori, Lucious was named to the Class 5 District 1 All-District Team and SEMO All-Conference Team.
These combined defensive efforts led to a historic finish as the Bulldogs allowed the least amount of points per game than they have in more than 15 years as opposing teams only scored an average of 34.6 each contest. Overall, Notre Dame held teams to 30 points or less 15 times as five of those opponents recorded 20 or fewer.
As three-time all-state selection Lexi passed the torch after last season, the 2023 all-state honoree Tori is now passing it to her younger sisters Brie and Kate to continue the Rubel dynasty at Notre Dame. The Rubel Twins, along with Lucious, will play for Phee Elite this AAU season in preparation for a return to the state final four as sophomores next winter.